County’s response to town’s library fund request doesn’t impress local officials

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Town of Amherstburg continues to press the County of Essex for its share of funds that accrued during the 251-day Essex County Library strike and the town isn’t happy with the latest development.

The town has asked for its share of the money back but a letter received from county CAO Brian Gregg dated Aug. 25 was one that “totally offended” the town’s CAO. John Miceli told town council that he was frustrated that the Essex County Library Board is managing the file on behalf of Essex County council.

“At its meeting of August 9, 2017, County Council passed a resolution directing that grant funding requests to support capital improvements and renovations at library branches be forwarded to the Essex County Library Board for review and support. Once approved, the Library Board will advise county administration that it is in order to release the appropriate grant amount. Council also endorsed the principle that, to qualify for grant funding, the improvements are to be carried out prospectively, effective August 9, 2017,” Gregg’s letter stated. “Council directed administration to develop, for its consideration, a process to be codified to administer the grant requests put forward by local municipalities. It is anticipated a draft process, along with the total amount of eligible grant funds allocated to each local municipality, will be presented to County Council at either its September 6, 2017 meeting or its September 20, 2017 meeting.”

Amherstburg council is still asking for its share of library funds that accrued during the 251-day strike. (RTT File Photo)

Councillor Diane Pouget said Amherstburg council asked “in good faith” about getting the town’s share back.

“They’re tying our hands, no matter what we do,” she said.

Miceli said measures have been taken by the town to improve the library building. He noted there is “only one taxpayer in the Town of Amherstburg” and that no services were provided to those taxpayers from June 25, 2016 to Feb. 10, 2017.

The town can make its own decisions what it uses its share for, Miceli stated, and that roughly $75,000 to $85,000 in work has been done to improve parking at the library and to make other repairs, some of which were safety related.

The Aug. 9 date was also questioned by the CAO, who added he is willing to attend the Sept. 20 county council meeting to further address the town’s concerns. Miceli also plans to raise the issue with his administrative colleagues this week.

“What does Aug. 9 have to do with it?” he asked. “It should be retroactive to June 25, 2016.”

 

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